Sun / Over Night Low / Ohio Majestics
Dayton, 1966 -
First there was the Over Night Low, and then the Sun rose. Dayton's seemingly unlimited talent for funk provided bassist/keyboardist/sax player Byron Byrd, who formed the Ohio Majestics around 1966. In 1972 the band changed their name to the Over Night Low Show Band, later shortened to Over Night Low, included John Wagner (trumpet, trombone), Chris Jones (trumpet), Hollis Melson (bass), Clarence Willis (guitar), and Jimmy Williams (drums), around 1972. We don't know the name of any other members. It's almost certain that as the Ohio Majestics, they are backing Charles Simmons on his 45 "Save The World", although it's not clear whether Simmons was a member or it was just a session, so we have a seperate entry for Simmons.
The group recorded two 45s as Over Night Low, one for Chess and one for Deluxe, the old King label subsidiary that was reactivated in the early 1970s. These records didn't get much sales. Jimmy Willams left to join the Ohio Players, and Clarnece Willis followed him. Byron Byrd perservered and got a contract with Capitol records but not before he changed the name of the 'group' to Sun. To make the LP, they needed help, so thet recruited Roger and Lester Troutman to play bass/guitar and drums. This was before Zapp when the Troutmans were still called the Human Body. The first Capitol LP "Live On, Dream On" included the song "Wanna Make Love (Come Flick My Bic)" was a pretty big hit, aided by the tie-in with Bic lighters, the ubiquitous small disposable lighters that were common place when most people smoked cigarettes - or joints.
Sun recorded a second LP "Sun Power" that was released on
vinyl or "wax" as we said back then. After the first LP, the group
rebuilt with Kym Yancey on drums and Shawn Sandridge on guitar, with
Wagner, Jones, and Melson joining Byrd as the holdovers. The second LP
sold OK but the single "Boogie Bopper" didn't fare was well.
Another major shakeup occured with Yancey being the only other member besides Byrd. Some of the group left to form Dayton and to join other bands. Byrd recruited Keith Cheatam and Sonnie Talbert from TNT Powerhouse, a Cincy based band who had origins in Dayton. TNT Powrehouse - not to be confused with TNT Flashers from Steubenville (plenty of explosive power in Ohio funk...) had released a good 45 in 1976. With a fairly stable lineup Sun released their mosy successful LP "Sunburn" and their biggest hit "Sun Is Here"